Member Reviews

The second entry into Malliet’s new cozy series featuring Augusta Hawke. When a death occurs at a dinner party, Augusta has questions. As a mystery writer, she always has questions. Inviting all the people at the party to a remote inn for a writing workshop, she solves the case. Fun.

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Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this title, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I read the first book in the series, Augusta Hawke, and was eager to read the next - unfortunately, I don't think this one was as interesting as the first.

Augusta Hawke is a successful crime novelist, who in the first book, stumbled into a mystery and became very involved in solving it. Apparently, that went to her head, because in this book, she has become a licensed private investigator, as well as a novelist. She attends a dinner party at which a guest dies, and decided that it's her job to solve the crime. She does this by inviting all the suspects to a "writers retreat" at a remote resort, where they promptly get snowed in.

I think the author can do better! I liked her Max Tudor series and the first book in this one much better, and I think this one was a let down. Perhaps because she made this decision to get licensed, which seemed a little silly - why not stick to the amateur cozy mystery? Perhaps the problem here was that the author was trying to establish a new basis for the main character in the second book.

At any rate, it was a reasonably entertaining cozy, and I'll read the next in the series when it comes out!

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I'm giving Invitation to a Killer a three-star rating, which may be generous. I enjoyed Augusta Hawke's voice and quirkiness in the first book, but this one is an excellent example of a "sophomore slump." The characters, even the humanitarian doctor, were unlikeable. Callie Morgan, the overblown lobbyist's wife, was unlikeable in the extreme. However, I did find Augusta's opinions on the Capitol Hill denizens amusing. They align very closely with my own. I am more than willing to read another book in the series. This one fell flat for me. Thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

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This was my first look at An Augusta Hawke mystery. Crime writer turned part time PI Augusta is invited to a party by Callie Moore as a ghost writer for her memoirs. When celebrity Doctor Doc Burke is found dead it is thought to be a heart attack. Taken into the murky world of politics and secrets you are taken along a roller coaster ride with Augusta. You very much have to suspend disbelief a bit about how Augusta is able to get answers but are given a classic reveal at the end.
"Thank you NetGalley and (publisher, Severn House) for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own”.

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I didn't realize that it was the second book of the Augusta Hawke Mystery series (even though it says this right on the cover). While the main character, Augusta, refers many times to a mystery that she solved in the past (which I assume is in the first book), I do still think that this can be read as a standalone. This book is a very slow burn, at times I was a little bored and tuned out. Although it refers to a large cast of characters, it is told only from Augusta's perspective, which is what slowed the book for me. I personally love a story with multiple POV's, and I think that this one would have been better paced and provided more action if it included some other POV's. I also found some of Augusta's choices to be a bit of a reach and, as a result, didn't love her character. With that said, I did want to know who the killer was and listened to the end to find out. I read a lot of thriller books and prefer super dark, twisty stories, so my thoughts are more about personal preference than the story itself. I think that anyone who enjoys a murder mystery that slowly builds throughout the story would really enjoy this book.

⭐⭐💫 (2.5)

Thank you to Netgalley, Dreamscape Media, and Severn House for the gifted copy of this book.

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I really like Malliet’s Max Tudor series (new one coming later this year!!!) and so I was excited to read this second book in a new series from her. I haven’t read the first book but I don’t think that hampered my enjoyment - although it might have explained a few things. Anyway this is a well plotted if wildly far-fetched murder mystery was a fun heroine-sleuth with an engaging narrative style. I enjoyed it and would happily read the first one and any more Malliet cares to write.

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Invitation to a Killer is the second Augusta Hawke mystery by G.M. Malliet. Released 7th Feb 2023 by Severn House, it's 240 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

This is a quirky amateur sleuth mystery told in first person PoV featuring mystery writer Augusta in the starring role. It's set in modern day Washington DC and has a cast of well known socialites, philanthropists, and politicians in a sort of locked room murder setup, where the first murder occurs.

The writing is competent and the plotting is well controlled and moves at a good clip. I found the *constant* unrelenting internal monologue on the part of the protagonist to be intrusive and a detraction to the flow of the read. It reminded me a bit of the full on snarkiness of the M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin books, and readers who love the Beaton books will find a lot to like here.

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 8 hours, 36 minutes and is competently narrated by Erin Dion. She has a husky and pleasant alto voice with a neutral American accent. She has a good grasp of timbre and inflection and, in a positive way, her voice doesn't take over the read. I found myself able to listen to the *book* without noticing her *voice* overmuch. She does an ok job differentiating the various characters without being confusing or repetitive. I listened at slightly increased speed and never found my interest wandering or losing my place.

Three and a half stars. Definitely worth a look for fans of tongue-in-cheek sarcastic amateur sleuth mysteries.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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“Crime writer-turned-amateur sleuth, Augusta Hawke finds herself drawn into her second mystery when a celebrity doctor is found dead at a party she is attending!”

I quite enjoyed the tone this book set, as well as the personality of the main character.

The rest of the book, however, wasn’t for me.

By the numbers:

0-24% – Nothing happens.

25% – Murder!

26-95% Nothing happens.

95-100% – Epilogue, where our heroine describes, in detail, who did what, where, how, and why.

All tell and no show makes Augusta a dull read.


Thanks to NetGalley, Severn House, and DreamScape Media for this ARC.

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An enjoyable well-written story and a middle-of-the-road mystery. There is some humor in the book. I like Augusta Hawke who is a very competent woman. It is interesting to see life in Washington, D.C. among the power brokers and the "everyday" people who also live there.

There are a lot of twists and a classic gathering of the suspects for the final dénouement but I thought it was a little unrealistic that all of these busy people could be gotten to together for a weekend, for a dinner party yes, a weekend, not so much. The culprit was a bit obvious.

But overall, a solid mystery by a very good writer.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for ah honest review.

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G.M. Malliet writes another riveting and entertaining mystery, the second in the Augusta Hawke series.
The book is a study of characters, a solid mystery, and a very entertaining novel.
It kept me hooked and guessing.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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In this second Augusta Hawke novel, Malliet seems to revel in her creation's wit and sharpened crime-solving skills. Odious socialite and wannabe writer, Callie Moore, attempts to gaslight her way to getting Augusta to co-write her creative (ahem) non-fiction memoir, and to convince popular agent Rem Larsson to sell it for her. Callie plays fast and loose with reality, and Augusta can't really take her seriously--especially Callie's boldly stated desire to become an ambassador for the U.S. At Callie's glamorous dinner party, which Augusta grudgingly attends, a famous humanitarian, Doc Burke, dies as he sits in the evening shadows of Callie's garden, eating baked Alaska. While Doc's death doesn't immediately present as a murder, Augusta has her suspicions. And when, a while later, Doc's body is snatched away, and his niece, Nell, shows up at Augusta's door with a memoir written by Doc himself, her suspicions become a reality. The fun twist in the novel happens here, when Nell and Augusta cook up an impromptu writer's retreat in Virginia's snowy mountains, and invite all the suspects. Malliet is an expert storyteller, and Augusta's voice is sure and clever. I love her frequent, arch one-liners that elevate the prose above so many other cozy mysteries. Prayer bonnets, fashion faux pas, (non) parenthood, hapless spies, and Washington lobbyists are all in her sites. Because Malliet's stories are told in large part through smart dialogue and Augusta's piercing questions, the action moves with a pleasing quickness. Loving this series.

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Augusta Hawke is back and G.M. Malliet’s delightful character will have you chuckling as you turn the pages. After her involvement in a real murder investigation, the mystery writer decided to become a licensed investigator. When she encounters another dead body it is listed as natural causes but Augusta suspects murder. At one of her book signings Augusta meets Callie Moore, who would like Augusta to ghost write her memoir. Callie wants to become an ambassador somewhere that there are beaches and no chance of war. She believes that a successful book would call attention to her and better her chances of getting a position. When Augusta says no Callie invites her to a party at her estate, hoping to change her mind. The guests include a congressman, a member of the CIA, a well-known literary agent, a celebrity doctor, a personal coach and several spouses. Before the evening is over the doctor will be found dead in a lounge chair. He had a heart condition so no one questioned the death.

Several months after the party Augusta is contacted by Nell, the doctor’s niece. His body was supposedly claimed by his wife, but she is a health worker in Sierra Leone and never left the country. He was cremated so there is no way to confirm Augusta’s suspicions. He left Nell a copy of his memoir to be published after his death and she is hoping that Augusta can help her with that task. They hope to find a clue in his transcript that would explain why someone would want to kill him, but nothing stands out. In an ending that would make Agatha Christie proud, Augusta and Nell gather everyone from the party at a weekend retreat, sure that the killer will somehow reveal himself. It is a weekend where not everyone is who they seem and there are some surprising twists before the murderer is finally revealed. Augusta Hawke is a wonderful character and I look forward to seeing her again. I would like to thank NetGalley and Severn House for making this book available for my review.

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A breezy mystery that is entertaining enough but also a significant step down from the first book in the series.

Crime writer Augusta Hawke is back, and she’s got another real life mystery to solve. The tone and style here is very similar to the first book, but it’s a definite letdown. Malliet’s Max Tudor series also went downhill quickly, and I worry that is the fate of this series as well.

This book does still have a good sense of humor about it, though it’s less clever in that way than the first. And the pacing is certainly well-executed.

The plot was less appealing to me personally this time around because DC/political wheeler dealer stuff just isn’t my bag, but the real problem with it is that the mystery itself just isn’t great, nor is the solve.

Augusta,however, is still a great character, and I hope that this series can return to the clever, sharp stuff that made the first book so notably good.

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When a dinner party ends in murder, Augusta Hawke is on the case! A writer, she's also got a side line solving crimes and this, thanks to the guest list, is a doozy. The philanthropic physician- not so much as cozy fans know. This is the second in the series but I missed the first one making it a standalone- and it was fine that way because it's easy to follow the trail of clues. I'd like to spend more time with Augusta. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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When I first saw this title listed I didn't realize it was a second in series, but I've been burned by that enough in requesting books that I now automatically search anything that describes itself as "An X Mystery" to see if there are earlier books.... I'm very glad I did because upon being approved I turned to my library to read the first book and quite enjoyed it. If this had been the only book I had read, I would have never turned to the first, so that was fortuitous.

This one started out every bit is entertaining as the first book in the series. There's a bit of a bizarre set up and seemingly random death, but that's par for the course in cozy mysteries. There was just enough confusion about exactly what was going on to keep me curious. Right up until, about 3/4 of the way through, the increasingly self-righteous and self-satisfied Augusta Hawke decides she's going to pull an Agatha Christie, gather-all-the-suspects big reveal party to solve the mystery - and that's where things just went completely off the rails for me. It was beyond implausible, the solution to the mystery was convoluted and felt totally random, and the blow-by-blow in the epilogue felt unnecessary. This one had me until the end, then totally lost me.

It's unfortunate, because the concept is fun for a cozy mystery series. I used to live in DC and I enjoyed the return to the environment, as well as the nods to politics and society and local geography. The majority of the book is paced well and while I must confess that I have found the protagonist to become increasingly irritating as the book went on, her nosiness was entertaining for much of the book rather than abrasive. While the suspending of disbelief it required was significant, it was still engaging. Yes, it's utterly unbelievable that she would continue to be sought out by a local Detective on questions of murder, but it was still a fun construct and i could brush those misgivings aside easily enough. But things just went too crazy with this ending. My eyes were rolling so aggressively as I worked my way through the last pages that I'm surprised they didn't end up in the back of my head... This one didn't work for me, and frankly soured me on the series.

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3.5 stars

I am a big fan of the author's other two series, set in England. This is her second Augusta Hawke mystery, featuring a mystery author who lives near Washington D.C.

Augusta is not an entirely likeable character. She is nosy to a quite incredible degree. She evidently obtained a PI license after she solve the mystery in the first book but that is mentioned just in passing.

Augusta crosses paths with the ambitious wife of a lobbyist - the wife is intent on an ambassadorial appointment and wants Augusta to help her with her memoirs in aid of that. So she gets invited to an odd dinner party with a congressperson and his wife, an esteemed and beloved celebrity physician, a mysterious possibly CIA couple and a few others. The physician dies during the party and Augusta is convinced it must be murder.

The plot comes off as not quite believable and culminates in an Agatha Christie get-all-the-suspects-together weekend where, of course, they get snowed in. I like Malliet's writing and observations but find it hard to warm to Augusta. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Second book in the series finds Augusta Hawke doing a reading of her latest book when a woman approaches her about ghost writing her memoirs. The woman in question is wealthy Callie Moore, wife to a famous lobbyist, who without any qualifications wants to become an ambassador to another country. Augusta grudgingly attends Callie Moore’s dinner party with all notable guests, and where the kind and philanthropic Doc Burke is murdered in front of their eyes. Character rich there is no shortage of suspects, and Callie Moore is determined to solve the case.
The characters are richly drawn, the solution one I never saw coming. Enjoyable mystery.

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#InvitationtoaKiller #NetGalley A great little surprise! Pick this one up and you won't put it down. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I encourage you to check this one out!

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In Augusta's second outing she's moved to solve the mystery of the death of a philanthropic doctor at a high-society dinner. Darkly comic and well-paced, this will appeal especially to fans of cozy, caper mysteries.

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I missed the first in the series, so I am unsure how much backstory I have missed. It was an easy read but I am exhausted by politics these days. I didn't hate this book but I didn't necessarily enjoy it.

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